Search Engine Optimization (SEO) can be a mystery unless you have a basic understanding of terminology and how to put SEO to work for your business. For now, the most important thing to know is that Google rewards pages that are keyword focused.
Five years ago I took my first internet marketing course. That’s the first time I heard the terms SEO, PPC, Google PageRank, Linkjuice, Wireframe, ROI, and keywords. While many of these acronyms and words are now more familiar, then, the only one that made sense to me was keywords. Hey, I’m a writer — words are something I understand. I admit it took me a little time to grasp the concept, but keywords are literally the key to driving traffic to your website. If you don’t use them, it’s a lot like being on a dating site without a photo or a profile, or placing an ad without giving your contact information. You’re likely to end up alone.
Here are three questions and answers to help you understand what keywords can do for your business.
1. What are keywords?
Keywords are the words and phrases people use when they are searching for something online. Last night, for example, I wanted to make something interesting with the ground lamb I already had in the fridge. My husband remembered a recipe where ground beef was shaped around skewers, so I entered “ground lamb on skewers recipe” into Google and found several options. I ended up making Ground Lamb with Moroccan Spices on a Stick, which I found at http://shecookshecleans.net/2011/08/20/kefta-kabobs/ Kefta Kabobs. Delicious!
2. How can you find the keywords that will drive traffic to your site?
You need to know what keywords people use when they are looking for goods and/or services that you offer. Because Google wants to help you find those relevant keywords, they have created two invaluable resources: Google Keyword Tool and Google Trends. The Keyword Tool lets you enter your website, a category, and words or phrases to help you identify keyword ideas.
For example, my friend owns a feed store, and among other things, supplies hay, chicken feed, dog food, and food for horses. On the Google site, I entered the store’s URL, chose “livestock feed” as the category, and let the site search for keywords. Voila! Google provided a list of words that should be included in press releases, articles and other content. The three most searched words for the site were pet and feed, pet feed, and animal feed, followed by feed supply, farm supplies, feed store and store and feed. With Google Trends you can get insight into the traffic and geographic visitation pattern for your website.
3. What you can do with your list of keywords?
By targeting one keyword at a time in a series of articles, press releases, blog posts, and other content, you can help Google point the way to your website. This is not an exact science, but if you track conversion rates (the number of people who take a certain desired action) over time, you’ll know which keywords are the most relevant. Because most business owners are too busy to develop an original flow of fresh content for their site, they often rely on freelance writers to help them. A writer who understands Search Engine Optimization knows where to place the words and how to format articles to generate optimum results.
Keep in mind: keywords are a crucial component of online marketing. If you use them in your website copy, you’ll improve your rankings on Google, Yahoo, MSN Bing, and other search engines. If you ignore them, your site and your business could be lost in space.